Windsor couple among many still in quarantine, despite ArriveCAN’s leniency

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The federal government’s leniency offer this week for border crossers struggling with the recently derided ArriveCan app by people like Wendi Lachance, who are already in quarantine thanks to a system glitch.

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The government olive branch arrived 12 hours too late for Lachance and her husband, who were ordered to quarantine for 14 days after a Detroit concert because their ArriveCan details were not uploaded into the government system.

The ordeal has been so upsetting for Lachance, who said she can’t enjoy the long-awaited holiday events now, that she hasn’t slept for days.

“This has made us very angry and is depriving us of so many things,” he said. “We’ve done all the right things over the past two years to allow these special things to happen this week and next, and they are over for us.”

The ArriveCan app collects contact, health and travel information from people crossing the border as part of the federal government’s attempt to prevent a further invasion of COVID-19 into the country.

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All persons entering Canada must submit information within 72 hours of crossing the border.

But the government has been criticized for not making the requirement clear enough, and the app itself has been denounced for being difficult to navigate.

There have been repeated reports of people landing in quarantine after showing up at the border without the knowledge of ArriveCan. Others were unable to enter the information correctly because the application is confusing and unreliable.

After widespread complaints, Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino said Monday that the government will offer leniency, including allowing people to provide information in person when there are problems with the app.

The ArriveCan application is seen in this screenshot.
The ArriveCan application is seen in this screenshot. Photo by screenshot /The Windsor Star

The Canada Border Services Agency told the Star that officers will assist travelers who were unfamiliar with ArriveCan or were having trouble completing it.

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“Border services officers can help land travelers meet the requirement to submit their information digitally by allowing the traveler to return to the US to take the time to complete the ArriveCan form and re-enter Canada afterward. to send it, ”said spokesman Allan Donovan.

When possible, individuals will also be allowed to complete the questionnaire at the port of entry by exiting to the side or going to a parking lot.

“That is at the discretion of the CBSA agent,” said Rep. Irek Kusmierczyk (L – Windsor-Tecumseh). “And it’s up to the agent if they come across travelers who are having issues with the ArriveCan app, basically just helping them as much as possible at the point of entry. So there has been flexibility and understanding that has gone into that. “

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But the dozens of people already in quarantine from the ArriveCan mishaps have not been offered any leniency. Lachance and her husband, John, received their quarantine order Sunday night. Mendecino announced the changes on Monday.

MP Irek Kusmierczyk (L - Windsor-Tecumseh) delivers a press conference at Tecumseh in this Sept. 23, 2021 file photo.
MP Irek Kusmierczyk (L – Windsor-Tecumseh) delivers a press conference at Tecumseh in this Sept. 23, 2021 file photo. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Lachance said she reached out to Kusmierczyk’s office, who responded with a letter, but offered no hope of ending the quarantine.

She was not the only one.

“We know that there have been problems with ArriveCan,” Kusmierczyk said. “I know this because our constituency office has received a high volume of calls and concerns about the ArriveCan app. We have been in conversation with Minister Mendecino and we have communicated these concerns and problems to him. That is why this week we are publishing a new guide for CBSA officers. “

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Lachance and her husband completed ArriveCan on Sunday before heading to the Andrea Bocelli concert at Little Caesars Arena.

“The concert was lovely, but all the joy ended about 20 minutes later,” he said.

At the border, the customs officer said that his ArriveCan entry was not in the system and asked for a verification code. Lachance never received one.

“I have since discovered that it does not enter the system until the code is entered,” he said. “Getting that code means you have completed it. But there was nowhere when I was doing it that said ‘continue’, no place that said ‘the end’. I assumed you contact the government of Canada, it is done. “

The officer gave them the option of returning to Detroit to fill out the form again on their phones. But they don’t have data plans.

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“She said, ‘Well, so they’re both quarantined for 14 days,'” Lachance said. “Then she said, ‘Wait, I have to go to the next booth. Today I have turned in too many of these forms. ‘

The experience has not scared her of crossing the border again, but she will be better prepared next time. The women in his family have a tradition of going to Detroit on Boxing Day.

“We plan to go,” Lachance said. “However, we will probably spend all of Christmas day working on this ArriveCan form. Which is really stupid. “

“There are a lot of people less educated or less cunning or less knowledgeable than us and I can’t imagine what they are going through. And they want to visit their families there. It’s really a terrible situation that Canada has put us in. “

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